So what exactly is a will?
In simple terms, a will is a document that comes into fruition after your demise to tell everyone where your “stuff” should go.
And what exactly is your “stuff”?
When I ask this question, I get responses such as cash, an awesome big screen TV or even a treasured record collection. Most people default to the tangible things.
Do you know the biggest tangible things most people have?
Most people don’t think about that in terms of a will. Things like your kids, dogs and cats tend to get overlooked. It is not just about things that we have bought. It covers our wishes on everything important in our lives.
When we are talking about the care of children, a guardian is typically specified. If two parents pass away in car accident, who will become the legal guardian? When formalising this in your will it is important to ensure that the guardian is asked if they are comfortable with the notion of raising your children if this comes into fruition. It is also worthwhile having a backup guardian in case of a change of mind.
The other thing to consider is how do we help fund the guardian to ensure they are able to look after your kids without causing financial distress.
When preparing your will, ask yourself:
- What have I truly got that is outside our goods & chattels? These are things that are really important to us such as kids, pets etc.
- Where you want the above treasured things to go and who will look after their wellbeing?
- Are there people who may have a gripe with you after your passing? Are there any “pain points” where the estate may be challenged? Think about them now so that you can deal with that in the will.
- Specific requirements around your own healthcare. If you have strong views about your health you may want to look at an advanced health directive. These come into play when you can’t make decisions around your healthcare.
- Put some consideration into nominating a general & enduring power of attorney.
- The structure of your current financial position and how assets will be distributed using something such as Testamentary Trust.
Wills can be as complicated as you like. But most of the time, the presence of one is better than the absence of one.
Ensure you have put some thought and an action plan in place for your loved ones.
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